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Digital Digital Strategy

Building a Modern, Elastic IT Infrastructure From Scratch for Elanco Animal Health to Streamline and Optimize M&A

During a global pandemic, Elanco and WWT worked collaboratively to design, build and integrate an end-to-end IT infrastructure with the ability to scale and meet the evolving demands of the highly competitive animal health market.

In This Case Study

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Situation

Corporate M&A is a high-stakes, high-reward environment in which even the smallest of setbacks can hinder success.

Elanco Animal Health, a global company that provides those who raise and care for animals with products and services in more than 90 countries to improve the health of animals, people and the planet, partnered with WWT to successfully navigate the complexities of divesting from its parent company while simultaneously integrating a $7 billion acquisition — all within a 30-month deadline.

Turning an impossible task into a way forward

For more than 70 years, Elanco operated as a subsidiary of a U.S.-based pharmaceutical company. The pair's systems and processes were so intertwined that multiple IT consultants deemed the task impossible to complete on time. WWT partnered with Elanco to untangle from the parent and began charting a strategic roadmap to independence.

visual representation of Elanco untangling from the parent

Roughly a year after engaging WWT to help with the independent standup, Elanco acquired a $7 billion animal health unit from another organization, which tested the agility and adaptiveness of Elanco's infrastructure. By successfully completing both the standup and acquisition on time and without interruption to operations, Elanco emerged with the foundation needed to grow into a digital-native business ready to seize growth opportunities as a newly independent company.

Rebuilding IT from the ground up while laying the foundation for future digital transformation would take most companies 10 years," said Matt Bull, Elanco's chief technology officer. "We accomplished it in 18 months.”

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Solution

Essentially running two major M&A events concurrently, Elanco needed a partner to simplify the myriad of workstreams needed to drive the deals across the finish line. WWT served as a primary partner to provide: 

  • Advisory guidance on best practices, roadmap creation and decision-making support.
  • End-to-end, in-house strategy and execution planning services.
  • Hands-on engineering delivery services with a seamless transition to service operations.
  • Comprehensive program governance and cross-team dependency management.
  • Validation of migration and technology integrations prior to deployment.
  • OEM partnerships that create efficiencies in decision making, testing and troubleshooting.

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By the numbers

Elanco and WWT worked together to design, build and integrate an end-to-end IT infrastructure with the ability to scale and meet the evolving demands of the highly competitive animal health market. This included:

  • 15,000 user migrations: Covering capabilities such as identity, productivity, and collaboration, including a Microsoft O365 to O365 tenant migration.
  • 14,000 devices deployed: Across over 50 countries, following an autonomous (home) deployment methodology.
  • 65 physical sites migrated: Including 24/7 manufacturing facilities and R&D labs.
  • 1,100 applications/services assessed: Focusing on standardization, modernization and migration.
  • 95% cloud adoption: Covering SaaS, FaaS, PaaS and IaaS, with custom-developed and commercial off-the-shelf services being hosted in the public cloud.
  • Zero network downtime from start to finish.

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Outcomes and benefits

A foundation for future productivity and efficiency: By leveraging a modernized, cloud-based infrastructure, Elanco established a more robust IT ecosystem that could foster innovation and increase productivity — and that is less costly to operate — to accommodate a hybrid workforce.

Mitigate vulnerability both inside and out of the network: By going from a legacy castle-and-moat network security model to a Zero Trust strategy, Elanco established a modern security foundation that supports distributed systems and hybrid working. With a focus on Identity Access Management, Elanco's Information Security team gained improved visibility by dynamically managing the risk of each user/system.

Digital business enablement: Knowing the needs of a more digitally focused and data-driven organization, Elanco reimagined how its core applications and services utilized the cloud, allowing stakeholders to extract trapped value and focus more on strategic opportunities.

Simplicity that translates into efficiency: Elanco shed legacy systems and consolidated the number of tools per capability to a 1:1 ratio, which reduced complexity and optimized support costs and removed technical debt, resulting in greater business agility and efficiency.

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Areas of expertise

Transformation isn't simply a technology decision. Such undertakings demand the right mix of technology, people, capabilities and areas of expertise which WWT has, including, but not limited to:

  • Cloud
  • Network and colocation
  • Lab as a Service
  • Security
  • Digital workplace
  • Data and analytics
  • Supply chain
  • Service management
  • Quality assurance (QA)
  • Site migration
  • Adoption services
  • Application dependency mapping
  • Automation and orchestration
  • Microsoft O365 Tenant Migration
  • Change Management Support

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How we did it

With over 30 years of experience helping the world's largest companies and government entities, we've learned digital transformation and IT modernization thrive in the space between:  

strategy and execution; business and technology; physical and digital

Our deep domain expertise cuts across business and technology. Our ability to extensively test solutions and deploy them at scale allows us to both advise and execute to create new realities for our customers. 

Here's how we did it with Elanco:

We started with culture and principles.

Before migrating a single user, we leveraged our aligned culture and values to set the ground rules for how we would work together. That foundation created a shared vision and common language that gave us the discipline to stay true to that vision when it came time to start building.

We created a faster execution model.

We designed an architecture that would enable Elanco to quickly shift gears and push through an acquisition in weeks instead of months.

We delivered a robust, digital-first IT ecosystem.

We helped pave the way for Elanco IT to act as an innovation enabler and trusted partner for business stakeholders to lean on as they pursue new market opportunities and tackle an ever-evolving competitive landscape head on.

“Our success is a testament to teamwork,” said Elanco IT Executive Director, TechOps. “Our aligned cultures and values, and attitude of being in it together to tackle challenges head on as true partners is what made it happen.”

 

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How can we help you?

Our comprehensive services portfolio is designed to help at every stage of your journey to digital transformation. From idea to outcome, you won't find another partner who combines strategic consulting expertise with the ability to seamlessly execute complex IT deployments worldwide.

  • Combine the insights of a traditional consulting firm with the ability to execute complex infrastructure solutions at scale globally.
  • Work collaboratively to find the optimal way to develop high-quality, easy-to-use software that delivers value early and often.
  • Cut your proof of concept time from months to weeks, if not days, by leveraging the ATC's testing and automation infrastructure.
  • Accelerate the planning, design and implementation of complex technology investments at scale around the world.